An emerging tussle in the Congress between the young and senior leaders played out on social media on Saturday, with four former Union ministers in the UPA-2 government speaking out against party leaders questioning the UPA.
Senior leader Anand Sharma remarked that no party disowns or discredits its legacy and that Congress leaders and workers must be proud of the legacy of UPA and former PM Manmohan Singh.
Although none took names, their remarks are seen as aimed at Rajeev Satav, a Rajya Sabha MP considered close to Rahul Gandhi who triggered a row at a meeting of the party’s Upper House MPs on Thursday. Satav suggested that introspection in the party, if need be, should begin from the UPA-2 period.
Hours after the four leaders made remarks, ostensibly against him, Satav responded saying he is not comfortable discussing “what goes on inside” party meetings in public forum. He tweeted that he will discuss his comments, or those made by “any other esteemed colleagues, on internal party forums only.”
“Today, [a] few of my esteemed colleagues and seniors have reacted on social media. This has compelled me, much against my principle of not discussing party matters on public platforms, to come out and clear the air,” he posted.
In multiple tweets, Satav said “malicious attempt to draw Dr Manmohan Singh into this exchange is reprehensible” and that “to say my observations cast a shadow over Dr Singh’s leadership of UPA II is a lie, a total misrepresentation of facts. I hold Dr Singh in high esteem.”
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Earlier in the day, former Union ministers Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor and Milind Deora had taken on UPA’s critics on social media. “Congressmen must be proud of the UPA’s legacy. No party disowns or discredits its legacy. Nobody expects the BJP to be charitable and give us credit but our own should respect and not forget,” Sharma, a CWC member and deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, stated in a series of tweets.
Tewari, who on Friday told The Indian Express that those who cannot see the good work UPA should “re-educate themselves,” today posted: “BJP was out of power for 10 years 2004-14. Not once did they ever blame Vajpayee or his Government for their then predicaments. In Congress unfortunately some ill-informed would rather take swipes at Dr Manmohan Singh led UPA govt than fight NDA/BJP. When unity is required, they divide.”
Deora agreed and replied on Twitter: “Well said, Manish. When demitting office in 2014, Dr Manmohan Singh said, “history will be kinder to me”. Could he have ever imagined that some from his own party would dismiss his years of service to the nation & seek to destroy his legacy — that, too, in his presence?”
Tharoor tweeted, “UPA’s transformative ten years were distorted and traduced by a motivated and malicious narrative. There’s plenty to learn from our defeats & much to be done to revive the Congress. But not by playing into the hands of our ideological enemies.”
Sharma stated that the UPA led the country with a sense of purpose and a commitment to the common man and argued that India witnessed “unprecedented social and economic transformation and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable” during that period. He tweeted that the UPA’s MGNREGA and Right to Food initiative “lifted tens of millions out of poverty and was acknowledged by the UN and the World Bank”, and was “celebrated across the world”.
Stating that the UPA was a victim of a “grand political conspiracy and malicious disinformation campaign of BJP, political opponents and powerful vested interests”, he posted, “Congress as a democratic party is always open to a debate on its achievements and failures. Honest introspection and analysis are always helpful and give strength to move forward. History will honestly record the commendable contribution of former PM Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The two leaders led India to a decade of compassionate and inclusive growth which all of us are proud of.”
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He recalled other initiatives such as increase in crop MSP and argued that path-breaking policy initiatives had accelerated economic development and manufacturing creating millions of jobs. He said India had registered high economic growth despite global turbulence, financial and economic crisis of 2008-09.
“India became the first country to quadruple its GDP in a decade and UPA left a two trillion- dollar economy and foreign exchange reserves of over 300 billion dollars. India’s story caught the world’s attention and India became a globally favoured destination for FDI,” Sharma posted.
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